Mercyhurst Computer Generated Art

The IDST courses here at Mercyhurst are, for the most part, meant to give you some exposure to a number of different disciplines and to several faculty members from different departments. The disciplines represented in this course are mathematics, computer programming, and art. Our course is unique, however, in that it has only one main instructor (me). I am representing the disciplines of both mathematics and computer programming, and I can answer any questions you have regarding the Mathematics and Computer Systems Department and its majors and minors. But through our outside speaker program, you will also meet several members of the Art Department, who would be glad to answer any questions you have about their majors, minors, and courses.

abstract artwork

It is my hope that you, by taking this course, will perhaps change your mind about the nature of these three disciplines, especially if you began the course with negative feelings toward them. You may wish to take another course in one or two of them, or even pursue a minor or major in one of them. I firmly believe that exposure to mathematics, computer programming, and art helps you to think and improves your problem-solving abilities, enhancing your experience and performance in any discipline. Keep an open mind. Allow doors to be opened for you and your future.

Mathematics, computer programming, and art combine well and are excellent choices for an interdisciplinary course. Creating generative art is a fun, engaging, and unintimidating way to learn some mathematics and some programming. It also allows students who do not have traditional art skills, such as drawing, painting, or sculpting, to make art. We will be learning two languages in this course, each of which is a programming language especially designed to produce graphics and generative art. Most of the course will be based on the Context Free Art language, but we will also gain some experience with POV-Ray toward the end of the course.

abstract artwork

The computer programming topics we will cover include loops, recursion, variables, functions, and curly-brace notation. In mathematics we will see fractals, 2D and 3D coordinate systems, trigonometry, and transformations. Regarding art theory, we will definitely be taking a look at color and perhaps composition. But for the most part, I am going to leave specific topics in art to our speakers to present and explain.

As I have previously mentioned, we will be having a series of outside speakers giving us presentations. Some of the speakers will be from our Art Department, but others will be members of the art community, from both within and outside of the Mercyhurst community.